I have lost my voice.
I don’t know where it’s gone, all I know is the harder I try to find it, the further away it feels.
As I scrabble for the words, they vanish as mist in my mind. Like trying to grasp the memory of a dream in that twilight time before sleep and waking.
I wonder if I have used up all my words. They used to flow unbidden from places inside, sometimes deep within, other times from that bubbling layer of innovation that lies just below the surface. Stories would weave themselves unprompted and thoughts and ideas would bloom in black and white.
And now I cannot find them.
In a world where self-expression is all but demanded, I am impotent. When words are all I am, am I really anything at all?
And then there is the fear.
The fear of that demanded self-expression – where opinion is no longer valued on its merits, only judged to be right or wrong. For out there now, there is no reasoned debate – no space or time for critical thinking. Just the relentless, rabid judgement of the faceless masses, eager for outrage and indignation.
My words are gentle, irrelevant things, without controversy or malice. It is, perhaps, no wonder that they hide themselves away and who can blame them? Perhaps they have fled to kinder places, where in that calm thoughtfulness outside of time they are free to be themselves.
If only they realised how much we need them now, those soft, rounded words without edge or side. We must tempt them back; temperate contest whispers loudest of all.
And I shall follow them. Away from the blind cacophony of screaming echo chambers, where the sheer wall of noise makes you deaf and dumb, to the quiet places where prose and protest can be as one.
And find some peace and sense among it all.